Essay on Russia: Democracy and Minimalist Definition

Submitted By Michelle-Wagmeister
Words: 514
Pages: 3

24003000GLS 303-001
Paper #1
00GLS 303-001
Paper #1
274320457200004629150-489839008
Fall
0008
Fall

1143004983480Russia’s Transition to Democracy: What Went Wrong
Michelle Wagmeister
Professor Field October 22, 2014
00Russia’s Transition to Democracy: What Went Wrong
Michelle Wagmeister
Professor Field October 22, 2014

Abstract
Russia became an independent state in 1990 when it departed from the communistic Soviet Union. A year later, in 1991, Yeltsin became the first democratically elected president. It is clear that immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia along with other post-soviet states adopted a democratic regime. Although, evidence suggests there were economic, social, and cultural factors that hindered Russia’s ability to consolidate. Therefore, the country had fallen back into an authoritarian regime under Vladimir Putin. Russia over the years has challenged the structural theories of democracy.What is a Democracy?
The way in which the term democracy is defined and measured is how a state is determined to have a democratic regime or not. Defining “democracy” is fundamental to the classification of a regime. While some states are considered to be a democracy by a minimalist definition, the same state’s regime may not meet the criteria if the defining factors are richer. A minimalist definition of democracy is a regime where the government is held accountable to its citizens through free and fair elections (Haerpfer 26). The advantage of using a minimalist definition is it avoids excessive required conditions. Using a richer definition of democracy is harder for a state to be classified as democratic due to specific requirements that need to be fulfilled. For example, a richer definition may use freedom of religion and personal individual rights as a measure of democracy – these factors can be subjective. Therefore, the advantage of using a minimalist definition is it develops unambiguous classifications and factors making it easier to use when comparing regimes.
Throughout identifying the trends and transitions of Russia the…